Nigeria has announced a five percent
cut in its crude oil production and exports. Officials attribute the
decision to a decline in international demand and disruptions
of operations by militants in the Niger Delta. Analysts say the cut will
drastically affect the country's budget, which relies heavily on oil revenues.
Attacks by militants have reduced Nigeria's overall production by 20
Elijah Okougbo is general secretary of the
National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG). He says the cut
in oil production may not have a significant effect on the overall workforce in
the oil sector.
Five percent cut on production quarter
is not going to have a significant effect on workers in the oil sector,
from past experience, since the Niger Delta crisis started, most of the
multi-national s who were adversely affected by the crisis and stop production
carried a lot of their workers, they kept them on stand-by and did not go ahead
to sack them immediately. There is every hope that the OPEC quota will change
after two months.
He says the overall impact of the cut may not
be too difficult for the country to manage. "
I think it will only affect if it is on for six months. It will affect the economy in the sense
that it may in one way or the other
negatively affect the budget not oil and gas workers because that percentage is
marginal and OPEC may rescind that decision after some time".
Okougbo says oil workers are not responsible for the country problems in
meeting its production and export quota contrary to government claims.
" It was only during the June 12 struggle when we confronted the
government the military government of
[Gen] Babangida in 1993 and went on strike for some days so the military should quit the stage, that we
were accused of economic sabotage and then we started a major strike which
lasted nine weeks, that was the only time we were accused".